On Civility Again

The first moonwalk happened 49 years ago today. I was watching.

What was our record last season after 99 games?

The H-Town Mayor’s former press secretary was indicted for withholding public records. You hate to see this happen but at least maybe it sends a clear message that Harris County DA Kim Ogg is serious about this. So, when citizens and the media make public information requests of government officials, don’t jerk them around or your arse might get indicted.

Donald Trump is inviting Putin to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for seconds. Try for late September or early October, please. It will help Dems with mid-term election turnout.

Monica Richart Flores, an attorney, HISD parent and former HISD Trustee candidate, had a thoughtful Op-Ed in the Chron a couple of days ago on the political civility thing, you know, folks interrupting the heck out of folks in power while they are having dinner and other tactics.  Here is the headline and the first part of her Op-Ed:

Civility only serves the already powerful [Opinion]

Since that fateful election night in November 2016, there has been no shortage of political punditry and newspaper inches devoted to advice on how to move forward from this tumultuous time in our country’s history. As the actions of President Donald Trump have devolved into a chorus of children and parents pleading for mercy and crying in pain, we have read in the media that the solution to political dysfunction is to bring civility back to our dialogue.

That theory seems to assume that the act of disruption — of making noise or making a scene — is inherently unconstructive. And it may be to an elite member of government or society whose privilege affords him other methods of action.

People who are already in the room where it happens need not bang on the door to get in. But people of color, women, and other underrepresented groups have been locked out of the policy debates for a long time. No more. We deserve a say. And privileged members of society will have to excuse us for resorting to alternative methods of getting heard.

In truth, this nostalgia for civility during previous civil rights struggles harkens back to a time when homogeneous groups of legislators, largely insulated from the effects of our most painful social ills, were the only ones debating policy. The moral baseline guiding these discussions was created without input from marginalized communities. It is much easier to calmly discuss racism and give a measured response to hate when you’ve never been a member of the targeted class.

For people of color, our protests against the separation of migrant children and parents, our anger at the increasing influence of white supremacist ideology in our government, and our outrage at increasingly common attempts to weaponize police interactions with brown and black communities are deeply personal.

We don’t have the luxury of looking at these issues with detachment when hateful words and actions are directly targeting members of our families and communities simply because of our race or ethnicity, our citizenship status, or whom we choose to love. Asking us to endure these tragedies without emotion is asking us to deny our humanity. There will be outrage. There will be salty language and moral debates that turn personal — because there isn’t a part of this isn’t personal for us.

There is a way forward, but at this important moment in our history, we must focus less on the tone of dialogue, and more on the message. Still, there is a place for outrage and anger in productive conversations. Indeed, one can argue that any dialogue where honest emotions are suppressed, where euphemisms dull the discourse is counter-productive because it hides the truth.

Here is all of Monica’s Op-Ed: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/Civility-only-serves-the-already-powerful-13083284.php.

Nice job.

That Judge lady from Fox News who spews hate went on “The View” yesterday and had her asre chewed out and now she is whining.

I remember in the old days when the haters were mostly anonymous. Now they are on Fox News everyday or hold elected office.

From the Chron:

Commissioner Rob Manfred listed several cities as viable options for MLB expansion during an interview on FS1’s “First Things First” on Tuesday. The list of candidates has quite the international appeal, too.

“Portland, Las Vegas, Charlotte, Nashville in the United States, certainly Montreal, maybe Vancouver, in Canada,” Manfred said. “We think there’s places in Mexico we could go over the long haul.”

Manfred also noted that the addition of two teams would cause a need for divisional and playoff realignment.

It has been 20 years since the MLB last expanded, with the Diamondbacks and Rays joining the league in 1998.

Where is San Antonio?

Last season after 99 games we were 66-33. Today we are at 64-35.

We have 63 games remaining. 28 are at The Yard, 35 are roadies. We have 13 against the Mariners who are behind us by 5 games in the AL West. 7 of those are at The Yard. We trail the Red Sox by 4 ½ for the best overall record in the AL and we visit Fenway for 3 in September. The Rockies are a contender and we play 2 at Coors next week and they visit The Yard for 2 next month. We go back to Dodger Stadium for 3 next month and follow that with 2 in San Fran. The A’s are still hanging in and we got 3 in their crib and 3 at The Yard with them in August. The rest of the schedule includes the Angels, Rangers, Twins, Tigers, Blue Jays and B-More. Got it?

We are in Anaheim for 3 this weekend.

Just handle business, baby!


Our Firefighters

#SpringerDinger and Alex Bregman had All Star Game dingers Tuesday night. If you read today’s Chron Sports Section, you now know who are the other two ‘Stros with All Star Game dingers – name the two?

Commentary tweeted this about Donald Trump’s first lying mouthpiece who was on my flat screen this morning:

Extremely disappointed to see @NBCNews @TODAYshow and @SavannahGuthrie give air time to this guy to promote his book. You are better than this.

This fella doesn’t deserve air time on any credible news network. Why does NBC News do this to itself?

He is still lying. He is still lying. He is still lying.

Commentary is glad the Chron E-Board ran this editorial today on our H-Town firefighters. Protecting our firefighters is a nobrainer for sure. Here is from the E-Board:

Firefighters routinely are exposed to carcinogens, an occupational peril that’s become increasingly evident in this century. Now a group of city of Houston firefighters, some of whom are battling cancer, complain that the department doesn’t have the equipment or the procedures necessary to adequately clean dangerous substances from protective equipment they wear on the job. The Texas Commission on Fire Protection has rightly opened an investigation, but this problem needs to be addressed locally — and quickly.

Everybody knows firefighting is a dangerous job — one that requires not only courage but stamina. Lugging around 60 pounds of bunker gear, including a heavy coat, thick pants, breathing apparatus, air tank and a helmet is challenge enough while battling a blaze. Now imagine hauling a hose or an axe into a burning building on a hot summer day while carrying an injured victim down a staircase. But there’s a difference between dangers that can’t be avoided and those that can.

Only recently has the likelihood of contracting cancer been quantified. In 2010, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health concluded that nearly 30,000 firefighters whose careers spanned six decades had a roughly 9 percent increase in cancer diagnoses and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths. The firefighters’ union says 28 of its roughly 4,000 members have died since 2000 from cancers caused by on-the-job carcinogens, and at least 10 active-duty firefighters currently have cancer.

Modern building materials and furniture made from plastics and other synthetic matter can release carcinogens when they burn. Firefighters’ bunker gear can absorb microscopic particles of those substances that can stay in place if the material isn’t deep-cleaned in machinery called a gear extractor. HFD follows national protocol by requiring each article of gear to be deep-cleaned at least once a year.

Firefighters argue that’s not often enough. They also complain that none of HFD’s 94 fire stations has extractors to deep-clean gear more than once a year, even though Dallas, San Antonio, Austin and El Paso all provide their firefighters with several in-house extractors. Fire Chief Sam Pena has been passing the hat since shortly after he was appointed in late 2016, seeking private donations to purchase gear-cleaning equipment for individual stations. The chief says he’s now in the process of buying the equipment for the downtown station, and he plans to eventually install commercial extractors in 25 stations. But this equipment should have been in place a long time ago.

Houston City Council’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee, chaired by Brenda Stardig, needs to ride herd on this issue. Council members should call Chief Pena and union representatives into chambers for a public discussion about what our city must do to adequately protect its firefighters from cancer. After studying the best practices instituted by other departments, the mayor and city council need to ensure that enough stations have cleaning equipment to adequately protect firefighters from this potentially deadly hazard.

Here is the entire take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Fighting-HFD-cancer-13086600.php.

Let’s fix this soon, please! Thanks, E-Board.

Race car driver Danica Patrick got panned last night by AP for her monologue to open the ESPYs. Yes, I watched the ESPYs. It was Ok in my book.

Hey, she’s a race car driver! Go after the writers instead.

The 141 female athletes on who stood on stage at the end was a powerful moment for sure. Wow!

Shame on USA Gymnastics and the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Check this from the Trib:

Surge of candidates leaves Texas Democrats struggling to recruit qualified staffers

The uptick in the number of Democrats running across Texas this election cycle has exposed a weakness in the party’s statewide apparatus: a shortage of experienced operatives equipped to run so many campaigns.

And this:

With the 2018 midterms on the horizon, Democrats have more candidates competing in congressional and state legislative races in Texas than the party has seen in years, as a wave of liberal enthusiasm fueled largely by opposition to President Donald Trump sweeps across the country. But the uptick in Democratic candidates has exposed a weakness in the party’s statewide apparatus, according to interviews with more than a dozen candidates, consultants and political experts: a shortage of experienced operatives equipped to run so many campaigns.

The origins of the problem date back to the 1990s, when Republicans swept Democrats out of the state’s major offices, making it harder for many Democratic campaign staffers to find work between elections.

“It’s a problem that has been around for a while,” said Colin Strother, a longtime Democratic strategist in Texas. “It’s just more pronounced this cycle because we have more competitive Democratic races than we have had in a generation.”

Here is the entire story: https://www.texastribune.org/2018/07/19/texas-democrats-candidates-recruit-qualified-staff/.

In a way it is a good problem to have, I guess.

One of the things I like about playing in the AL West is that we get to see Angels center fielder Mike Trout nine times or so a year at The Yard. The guy is a class act. Most folks think he’s the best player in the game right now. I just don’t like him to do too much damage to us when he is batting here.

The MLB Commissioner said the other day that Mike Trout is hard to market because he doesn’t want to be marketed. Got it? I think what the Commissioner really meant to say is Mike Trout won’t help market MLB. Got it?

We still have seven opportunities this season to see Mike Trout at The Yard this season.

Cesar Cedeno and Craig Biggio of course have All Star Game dingers.

B-More owns the second lousiest record in MLB. They just traded away their shortstop Manny Machado, their best player. Commentary looks at it this way. Our last four games of the season are at Camden Yards so that’s Ok with me.

That was pretty cool to win Best Team last night at the ESPYs.

Nice job by the Chron headline writers this morning for their hard copy headline on the ‘Stros: Hunt for deep October resumes. Nice.


2018 MLB All Star Game MVP Alex Bregman was taken as the second overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. Who was the first overall pick drafted right before Bregman that year?

Now this caught my eye yesterday. Check out this from the Chron’s Mike Morris:

In a rare maneuver that sidesteps Mayor Sylvester Turner’s authority, five City Council members have called a special meeting this week, hoping to force the issue of Houston firefighters’ push for a referendum on pay “parity” with police.

The council members aim to secure their colleagues’ support for a resolution calling on Turner to place an item on the council’s July 24 agenda to schedule a November election on the petition, which seeks to grant firefighters the same pay as police officers of corresponding rank.

In Houston’s strong-mayor form of government, the mayor generally has sole authority to decide what appears on the agenda for the weekly council meetings.

The lone exception allows three council members to set the agenda of a special meeting. Such gatherings — including this one — typically are organized without the mayor’s approval and often struggle to muster a quorum, as many of the 16 council members are loathe to invite the mayor’s wrath.

Council members Greg Travis, Michael Kubosh, Brenda Stardig, Martha Castex-Tatum and Dwight Boykins signed a Monday memo calling a special council meeting for 10 a.m. Friday.

Turner is on a trade mission in South America and will not be back in time to attend the meeting.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/In-rare-move-Houston-council-members-call-13082318.php?src=hp_totn.

To go or not to go, that is the quorum, err question.  I wonder if Morris will set an over/under on how many council members will attend the Friday meeting? Stay tuned for sure.

Commentary is not going to say much about would or wouldn’t. Yesterday’s move was for his base. Nobody else believes that BS.

Keep hitting GOP candidates who have serious Dem opponents. Make them denounce Donald Trump.

I guess we can use all the help we can. I saw this online this morning:

James Comey—the former FBI director who was fired by President Donald Trump in May 2017—has urged “all who believe in this country’s values” to vote Democrat in this fall’s midterm elections. Comey, who was a registered Republican for most of his adult life and has served both Republican and Democrat presidents, made the plea in a tweet late Tuesday night following intense criticism of Trump’s international summits. Comey wrote: “This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that ‘Ambition must… counteract ambition’ All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.” Comey was one of many high-profile figures to criticize the president’s performance alongside Vladimir Putin in Finland on Monday. After the press conference in which Trump backed Putin’s assertions over U.S. intelligence, Comey wrote: “This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country. Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president.”

Commentary said this on June 26 – three weeks ago:

Commentary has to hand it to the ‘Stros. They sure know how to milk it. I am talking about giving away World Series replica rings for the third time this season. The first time was back in April on a weekend for the first 10,000 fans when the Padres were in town. The second time was last Wednesday against the Rays and all of the 43,000 SRO and change who showed up got a ring. Well guess what? The ‘Stros announced yesterday that the Wednesday, July 11 game against the A’s will also be a World Series replica ring giveaway night with all fans getting a ring. The ‘Stros also decided to kick in dynamic ticket pricing. What did you expect?  The secondary ticket market is also into the dynamic ticket pricing thing for the July 11 game.  Ouch!

Ditto. They are giving the rings away again to everyone who shows up on Monday, August 27 when the A’s are in town. Milking it, baby!

Dansby Swanson of course was the first overall draft selection by the D-Backs back in 2015. Swanson is now with The ATL.

I guess it was only fitting that the 2017 World Series Champs played key roles in last night’s AL win over the NL. Nice.




The diehards know that on July 9, 1968, the MLB All Star Game was played at the Astrodome. Who was the only ‘Stro to make the NL All Star Team that year?

I saw this tweet today:

Texas Tribune Retweeted

Patrick Svitek‏Verified account @PatrickSvitek 12h12 hours ago


On tele-town hall tonight, Cruz got Q from supporter who said he sees “just too many Beto signs” in his area north of Dallas. Cruz says his campaign only rolled out signs w/in the past month. “We are frugal & so we don’t spend our money until it’s as close to E. Day as possible.”

Translation: Who in the heck would want a Ted Cruz sign in their yard anyway?

Commentary will give another three cents on Kelly Frels’ Chron Sunday Op-Ed on reducing the number of HISD single member Trustee districts and adding at-large districts. Money. HISD has over 720,000 registered voters. Where is an at-large candidate going to get the campaign funds to campaign districtwide? Lately, national teacher groups and unions have been the only ones willing to put in that kind of serious campaign dough into HISD Trustee campaigns. How can a candidate effectively campaign districtwide if they don’t have the funds? How can an HISD voter make an informed decision if they don’t know anything about the candidates? Just saying.

I received this yesterday on my HISD take:

Considering all the failing disticts I’ve known, all of them had a failing school board. If there is cause and effect operating here, I suspect the failing district schools caused the failing board. Not the other way around. We need to realize that we have elected boards that almost always are composed of people who know little more about schools and teaching than their own experience as students. Translation: Members are not qualfied to fix the problems. But administrators are supposed to know. Unfortunately, most of them are just trying to save their own necks.

Yes, the business communities should be involved in our schools. But got help us whenever the cry goes out that schools should be run like businesses. They should not.

Tim Bacon

A few days ago, Donald Trump said there wouldn’t be a Perry Mason moment. He said this:

“Will we be talking about meddling? I will absolutely bring that up. I don’t think you’ll have any, ‘Gee, I did it, I did it, you got me.’ There won’t be a Perry Mason here I don’t think.”

Well, we had our Perry Mason moment yesterday. I could hear the Perry Mason theme music in the background.

Hello, Colluder-In-Chief!

I was watching live on CNN yesterday. I was not surprised by what Trump said. I would have been surprised if he had called out Putin. It was good to see AC360 immediately call it like it was – disgraceful.

I am guessing the Mueller investigation will tell us if there is a tape or do the Russians have Trump on the hook over loans or something like that.

Here are the Chron headlines from their E-Board take today:

Trump embarrassed America by playing Putin’s puppy [Editorial]

And this:

Puppy prez

Here is how the E-Board take starts:

Donald Trump’s followers have a high tolerance level for his bad behavior, so perhaps it won’t bother them that Russia’s aspiring dictator Vladimir Putin made our president look like an obedient puppy during their summit Monday in Helsinki. But any other American whose heart beats with patriotic pride had to be embarrassed by Trump’s pathetic performance.

Here is the entire take: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/editorials/article/Trump-embarrassed-America-by-playing-Putin-s-13079853.php?utm_campaign=twitter-mobile&utm_source=CMS%20Sharing%20Button&utm_medium=social.

How about Putin’s punk?

There were not a whole lot of Trump talking toads, err heads, willing to go on the air yesterday. Rick Santorum was the only one I saw.

I hope all Dems with GOP opponents wrap Donald Trump around their opponent’s neck, please. Make their GOP opponents denounce Trump! Do it now!

Rusty Staub of course was the only ‘Stro on the NL All Star team at the game played at the Astrodome in 1968.

I saw the Alex Bregman portion of the Dinger Derby last night. I have said it before, Bregman is the most fun ‘Stro to watch for sure. He is prime time.

Commentary will be rooting for the ‘Stro players tonight.


The ‘Stros have played 99 games. Name the only ‘Stro who has played in all 99 games?

Maybe it has something to do with nine Dems currently occupying all nine trustee seats on the HISD Board of Education. Commentary is talking about attorney Kelly Frels penning an Op-Ed in yesterday’s Chron calling for a reduction in the number of single member HISD trustee districts and the addition of a few at-large seats. Kelly is a nice fella. He knows public education law and policies for sure, but I have issues with what he advocates.

First of all, show me the evidence and facts that single member districts have contributed to failing schools or a failing school district. Where is the proof? Has any group or expert conducted a major study or review that shows this? Has the Chron run a major investigative piece on trustees becoming dangerously or foolishly parochial or territorial at the expense of student performance? Commentary hasn’t seen this. Again, show me the evidence. A trustee saying “my schools” at Board meetings isn’t good enough.

If this Op-Ed is some sort of stalking horse for the H-Town Downtown business community to have greater influence at HISD, I don’t have a problem with this. Commentary knows HISD trustee elections and campaigns as well as anyone in H-Town. The last few election cycles I’ve seen the Downtown business community scale back their involvement in HISD trustee elections.   What is that all about? Get back into the game and get serious about these elections.

If you go to five single member districts, you almost double the area and population that a Trustee will have to represent. That is a tall order for sure and it will certainly increase the likelihood that a Trustee will not be fully familiar with the neighborhoods, people and schools she or he represents. That is not healthy.

Commentary doesn’t believe electing an at-large trustee is going to change the mindset over at HISD because they still have to go through the same process to get elected. More and more, our local city, school board, and community college elections have become more partisan. What political party you belong to is a major factor in your chances for election. That is just a political fact of life in these parts these days.  This process is not going to change anytime soon.

Commentary doesn’t believe all folks are fully engaged these days in the HISD Trustee election process. Specifically, the H-Town Downtown business community. They need to up their game and become fully engaged.   This past election cycle over at HISD we saw a major infusion of campaign dollars from national teacher groups and unions. Commentary doesn’t have a problem with that, but the local business community certainly has the resources to play and they are choosing not to.

Sorry to say this, but At-Large Trustee districts are not the cavalry coming in to the rescue.  It is a bit more complicated.

Here is the headline from the Op-Ed followed by the first part:

How can Houston fix public schools? Add at-large seats. [Opinion]

Quality education in any public school system begins with the leadership of its board of trustees. A pattern of failing schools has compelled Commissioner of Education Mike Morath to focus his attention on HISD, and he has the option of replacing the current board. But a state takeover won’t repair the fundamentally broken nature of HISD. What we need is a long-term fix: Change the system for electing HISD trustees. Replace the nine district seats with a combination of at-large and single-member districts.

Public school governance is admittedly a controversial subject. People have been reluctant to advance possible solutions, probably for fear of offending sitting board members. But with the possibility of a state takeover, the time has come to put the proposal on the table.

It is apparent that HISD’s current system of electing its trustees through all single-member districts is not conducive to effective governance. The results speak for themselves. HISD’s current electoral system can and must be changed so its board members will focus on the entire district rather than individual single member geographic districts.

But first, we have to understand why the board looks the way it does. The story begins in 1975, when the board at the time rightfully sought a legislative change to replace seven at-large positions with single-member seats. Given the demographics at the time, single-member districts were the only way to ensure African-Americans could be elected to serve on the board. At-large elections would dilute the African-American vote, denying this key political entity fair representation.

Change came again in 1981, when the HISD Board asked the Legislature to add two additional single-member district positions so the growing Hispanic population would have the opportunity to be represented, as well.

The demographics of the city of Houston and the HISD have changed substantially since 1981. Today, the adult and student population is majority-minority. African-Americans and Hispanics have been regularly elected to at-large City Council positions and countywide seats. The same could happen at HISD. Single-member districts have served their intended purpose, and it is now time to focus on governance.

Many single-member trustees are elected by a small number of voters. It is natural for these trustees to feel beholden to this group of supporters. Trustees risk focusing on the affairs of their small electoral district at the expense of the school district as a whole. Pay attention to board meetings, and you’ll find it is common for trustees to refer to schools and teachers in their geographic area as “my” schools and “my” teachers rather than “our” schools and “our” teachers. Looking out for all of “our” children gets lost.

Single-member trustees who properly focus on issues of the entire school district end up in a tight spot. By making issues of the entire district a priority, they risknot properly paying enough attention to their supporters — the ones who get them elected. So the blame for a narrowly focused board doesn’t necessarily rest with the trustees themselves — the entire election system contributes to less effective governance.

So how can we change this?

HISD’s controlling law is a narrowly drawn statute, Article 2774b, which is not actually found in the Texas Education Code. Instead, you have to look through what are known as the Education Ancillary Laws. That statute should be amended to provide for at least four at-large positions and five larger single-member districts for the nine-member board. This hybrid system of at-large and single-member districts, already utilized in the city of Houston, would provide a near majority of trustees with districtwide views on issues. The remaining five or fewer single-member district trustees would have a much larger constituency and hopefully broader views. This configuration should lead to more consistent districtwide decisions.

It might be tempting to merely add two or three at-large positions to the current nine-member board. After all, that change would leave today’s board untouched and avoid agitating them into opposition. But simply growing the current board wouldn’t solve the governance problem; it would make it worse.

First, adding positions does nothing to eliminate the inherent problems with small single-member districts.

Here is the entire read: https://www.houstonchronicle.com/opinion/outlook/article/How-can-Houston-fix-public-schools-Add-at-large-13077315.php.

Commentary was at the soft opening this past Saturday of the Saint Arnold Brewery Beer Garden and Restaurant. Nice! It is located right next to the brewery on Lyons Avenue. The beer of course was great. Same for the grub. It has indoor seating in a structure that resembles a church. It has outdoor seating that is mostly covered and with fans. It also has a spectacular view of Downtown H-Town. Check it out, please.

Way to go, Brock Wagner and his crew!

Jose Altuve of course has played in all 99 ‘Stros games this season.

We only have 28 homies left. Against contenders? Seven with the Mariners. Three with the D-Backs. Two with the Rockies.




The Red Sox lead MLB with 512 runs scored. Who is number two in this category?

Donald Trump said this morning that the immigration issue got him elected. Got it?

Royko sent me another take on local pro team owners. Here it is:

You can also suggest to Dems to give back the generous donations from Tillman who has benefited from taxpayer subsidies, as well as others like Elon Musk who has his snout buried in the taxpayer trough.

There is a July of 2017 story in the Chron about a bunch of folks giving Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaign $100,000 plus. Mr. Fertitta is one of them. Just saying.

Commentary has only eaten Papa John’s Pizza once in my lifetime and I didn’t like it. I have never had it at The Yard.

Some folks are starting to call out the ‘Stros for not ditching Papa John’s.   The Miami Marlins and Tampa Bay Rays ended their relationship with Papa John’s yesterday.

Here is from the Chron:

In a statement released late Thursday night, the Astros condemned the racial slur hurled by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter but gave no indication they will cease their partnership with Houston Pizza Venture, the Houston business that owns the local Papa John’s franchises.

“The Astros are incredibly disappointed with the statements made by Papa John’s founder John Schnatter,” the team said in a statement. “We do not condone discrimination in any context and his comments do not reflect the mission, vision and values of our organization. The Astros are proud of our 10-year partnership with Houston Pizza Venture, a local Houston business and owner of the local franchises. We feel confident that the local franchisees and their employees share the Astros commitment to diversity and inclusiveness.”

The way I look at it, Papa John’s is Papa John’s, regardless of who owns it. I think there are pizza shop owners in H-Town who could step in. Come on, ‘Stros! Don’t disappoint us!

Over the past few MLB All Star Game festivities, the Dinger Derby has gotten a bit boring. Now that Alex Bregman is in it, I have to watch it.

The ‘Stros are number two in runs scored with 485 of course.

The series against the A’s was a letdown for sure. We need to handle business with the Tigers before the break.

The Meltdown

‘Stro reliever Ken Giles was drafted in the 7th round by the Phillies in the 2011 MLB Draft. Who was the first overall player drafted in the 2011 MLB Draft?

Royko sent this yesterday after my take on those who had a role in bringing The Yard to Downtown Houston:

No. I would never thank them for saddling taxpayers with so much bond debt just to allow wealthy team owners skirt the tax codes.


Maybe he ought to tell the local, state and national GOP not to accept Bob McNair’s millions. Just saying.

Remember when Commentary said this yesterday:

Sigh! The Skipper needs to tell reliever Ken Giles to please grow up. The way he stormed off the mound yesterday in the ninth inning was not cool. It was an embarrassment.

They sent Giles down to Triple A yesterday. Good!

Commentary has said before that the folks who run the ‘Stros are smarter than the rest of us. They have real rings while most of us have replicas. Well, they are smarter than us most of the time. Here is from an MLB story from last night on why Giles was sent down:

When asked specifically about the verbal exchange, (Astros Manager A. J.) Hinch said: “We deal with a lot of different things behind the scenes, internally, as a team. Let’s keep it to baseball.

“I think it’s important for him to get himself right to where he’s direrecting all of his attention toward the hitter and all of his attention toward his job. He pitches with a lot of emotion. When things are going well, we love it. When things aren’t going well, we have our concerns just because of the volatility with the end-of-the-game-type stuff. When he’s good, he’s really good.”

In his third season with the Astros, Giles has surrendered 36 hits and 17 earned runs over 30 2/3 innings with 31 strikeouts in 2018. Giles, who earned a career-high 34 saves in ’17, carries a 4.99 ERA with 12 saves in 34 games this season, but he has only one save in nine appearances since June 17.

The Fresno Grizzlies, Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, will return from its All-Star break Thursday in Tacoma, Wash. While the Astros enter MLB’s All-Star break Monday, Giles will be able to pitch with Fresno during the off week, said Astros general manager and president of baseball operations Jeff Luhnow.

“Ken Giles was optioned so that he has opportunity to go work on some things that he needs to work on,” Luhnow said. “He has not had the success up here this year that he’s had in the past or that he’s capable of having. We need to keep the Astros first and foremost as our priority, winning games here. We’re engaged in a tight division race with the Mariners. The A’s are a good team. The Angels are a dangerous team. He needs to pitch. Right now, he won’t get as much as an opportunity [here].”

Luhnow echoed Hinch’s response about the demotion revolving around Giles’ emotional exit from Tuesday’s game, saying the option of the 27-year-old reliever was “a baseball decision.” Giles was acquired from the Phillies in 2015 for Mark Appel, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 MLB Draft, and four other players.

“As AJ said, this was a baseball decision,” Luhnow said. “I don’t know what [Giles] said. Things that are said between players or between players and staff, that’s a clubhouse issue. That’s dealt with separately. This is a baseball decision. He’s had success in certain situations, and he hasn’t been successful in other situations the way he really should be [having]. We have a plan for what he needs to work on.

“He needs innings. And it’s best that he gets those innings in Triple-A rather than here at this point.”


MLB’s Alyson Footer had the best takes. Here are from her tweets from yesterday:

Guess the Astros have had enough of Giles for a while. Effective today, the Astros have optioned RHP Ken Giles to Triple A Fresno and have recalled LHP Cionel Pérez from Double A Corpus Christi.

Relievers blow leads a few times a year. Really good relievers will cough it up several times, even. The key is how it’s handled after. The good ones brush it off and sleep well that night. They’re also the ones that pitch in the big leagues a long, long time. 

A couple of my own observations based on this Hinch clip: Giles’ outburst coming off the mound was an issue, even if it’s not being said, and Giles’ emotional state is as much of a concern as his physical performance (if not more).

Bottom line is this IMO — your team is 30 games over .500. THIRTY. You lose no more than twice a week. Stuff happens. A bad game doesn’t mean a bad season. If a blown save or blown lead simply allowing runs to a good-hitting team throws you off that much, well, that’s alarming.

I wish Luhnow wouldn’t talk down to us. It was a headcase and bad behavior decision pure and simple. A meltdown.

Gerrit Cole of course was take by the Pirates with the first overall draft pick in 2011.

Last night’s game was ugly. Well, at least I ran into two of my favorites last night at The Yard. I also picked up a replica ring.